Argentina beat France 4-2 on penalty kicks to be crowned Football World Champions for the third time after a 3-3 deadlock at the end of extra time at Qatar’s Lusail Stadium.
Lionel Messi was the hero for the South Americans and was adjudged the Man-of-the-Match. Playing in his final World Cup match, he fired home two goals – the first a penalty kick in the 23rd minute and then another in extra time in the 103rd minute. In-between, teammate Angel Di Maria scored in the 36th minute.
A hat trick by French superstar Kylian Mbappe was in vain, even though he became the first player in more than 50 years to score thrice in a World Cup final.
The Argentines looked as though they had the World Cup all wrapped after Messi and Di Maria put them up 2-0 by halftime and the French side seemed unable to find their rhythm. But Mbappe scored twice within 90 seconds – the first a penalty in the 80th minute and the second a fast strike seconds later – to bring France level 2-2. He then added a third in the 118th minute to level the game at 3-3 after Messi scored his second.
Mbappe also successfully fired in the first French penalty, as did Messi for Argentina. But Mbappe’s teammates were unable to follow his lead.
Mbappe won the Golden Boot award for the most goals in the tournament with 8, beating Messi who ended up with 7.
Argentina had earlier won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986.